Twin Star Exorcists
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 34 of
Twin Star Exorcists ?
This week's episode of Twin Star Exorcists felt almost like the second half of a two-parter, picking up right where last week left off without missing a beat. If you put them side by side, episodes 33 and 34 would work as a double-length episode, and I'd bet that last week would have played even stronger than it did as a standalone half-hour. Still, this was a surprisingly strong entry, with the kind of focused writing and clear direction the last few weeks have been sorely lacking. It does feel like the show is back on track after some messy table-setting episodes.
What really helps is the episode's clarity of purpose. Whereas the past couple of episodes have felt like vague buildup to an ambiguous end-game, this week is almost entirely focused on Miku and Sakura's fight against the Basara Moro, who we last saw terrorizing the Twin Stars in Episode 23. It was a well-staged and surprising emotional fight, and the solid direction helped offset the fact that the animation was only okay this week. Miku in particular got some fun stuff to do, wielding an army of weaponized plushies that also, bizarrely enough, could combine into cuddly battle armor. It was definitely entertaining, if not just a little odd.
What bothered me so much about Sakura's flashbacks and focus last week was the lack of certainty in its direction; this show has a bad habit of taking an episode to develop its side characters and then dropping them completely. (Say hi, Ryogo.) Knowing that Miku and Sakura's team-up and battle with Moro has even just a bit of payoff made the two play a lot better this week, with last week looking better in retrospect. I'm still worried that we're never going to see these two do anything of import again, but at least the show is fleshing out the otherwise stock Twelve Guardians.
The back half also reunited us with the Twin Stars, and while it felt like more setup than anything else, it was good to catch up with that side of the group. Shimon joining up at Benio and Rokuro's school was obvious, but I can see it leading to some interesting developments. The most exciting moments of this last half actually revolved around the villains, with a blink-and-you miss it cameo from Yuto and an ominous cliffhanger helping to rack up the tension. My biggest complaint about all of this is that it feels clunky and half-developed, like some of the stuff from last week. If some of the scenes between these two episodes were swapped and rearranged, I could see everything working much more smoothly.
This episode wasn't the slam-dunk we've been waiting for since the end of the Dragon Spot Arc, but it was a step in the right direction to be sure. The show has proven shaky with its anime-only material, but things are settling into a better groove again. I don't know if Kuranashi's scheme is going to be the arc to end Twin Star Exorcists on, but if so, I'm glad to see it getting back on track.
Twin Star Exorcists is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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